Jun 1–Jul 11, 2024

Iwan Baan

From Las Vegas to Rome
Blumenstrasse 22, 80331 Munich
Opening hours
Wed–Sat 3–7 pm

In the history of architecture, the cities of Rome and Las Vegas contrast radically with each other: while Rome, the former capital of the Roman Empire, is regarded as ancient, elegant and complex, Las Vegas, the "Sin City", is perceived as shrill, vulgar and artificial. Yet both cities are historically and contemporarily located at the intersection of power and games.

Denise Scott Brown, Robert Venturi and Steven Izenour revolutionised architectural theory with their book "Learning from Las Vegas" by declaring that the lessons the American desert city had to offer were equal to those of the Eternal City: "Las Vegas is to the Strip what Rome is to the piazza". Fifty years after the appearance of this groundbreaking publication, the exhibition "From Las Vegas to Rome" examines the dialogue between these cities. Iwan Baan's photographs reveal unexpected similarities and connections between the two cities. Baan's photographs of Las Vegas and Rome force us to ask whether we can look at architecture without moral judgement - a perspective Venturi suggested for Las Vegas - in the ecological and social contexts of the twenty-first century. Baan's photographs contrast and subvert conventional notions of authenticity and artificiality, ultimately challenging such polar categorisations. In this way, the photographs discuss Scott Brown's, Venturi's and Izenour's plea to first look, understand and only then judge.

Iwan Baan is recognised worldwide as the most important contemporary photographer in the field of architecture and urbanism. His work thematises architecture in the social context of human activities and stories. Working with renowned architectural firms such as Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA, Toyo Ito, Steven Holl, Taddao Ando and Zaha Hadid, Baan has documented major architectural projects around the world. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Vitra Design Museum and the Architecture Biennale in Venice, where he received the Golden Lion for his photographs of the occupied Torre David in Caracas with Urban Think Tank in 2012.

Opening on Friday, May 31st at 7:00 p.m.